U.S. Adds 171,000 Jobs in October; Unemployment Hits 7.9%

Washington — Nov. 2

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 171,000 in October and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 7.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday.

Employment rose in professional and business services, health care and retail trade.

Both the unemployment rate (7.9 percent) and the number of unemployed persons (12.3 million) were essentially unchanged in October, following declines in September.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for blacks increased to 14.3 percent in October, while the rates for adult men (7.3 percent), adult women (7.2 percent), teenagers (23.7 percent), whites (7 percent) and Hispanics (10 percent) showed little or no change. The jobless rate for Asians was 4.9 percent in October (not seasonally adjusted), down from 7.3 percent a year earlier.

In October, the number of long-term unemployed — those jobless for 27 weeks or more — was little changed at five million. These individuals accounted for 40.6 percent of the unemployed.

The civilian labor force rose by 578,000 to 155.6 million in October, and the labor force participation rate edged up to 63.8 percent. Total employment rose by 410,000 over the month. The employment-population ratio was essentially unchanged at 58.8 percent, following an increase of 0.4 percentage point in September.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons — sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers — fell by 269,000 to 8.3 million in October, partially offsetting an increase of 582,000 in September.

These individuals were working part-time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

In October, 2.4 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little different from a year earlier. These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the survey.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor